Monday, June 29, 2015

Just Another Beggar


There has been a lot of unrest in the last few days due to the SCOTUS ruling on same sex marriage. I don't want to get into an argument over whether or not it was the right decision. I don't want to go on a rant about how Christians are bigots or how homosexuals are dirty sinners. That is not what this is about. 

This is not another post defending or complaining about the Supreme Court ruling. We've had enough of that both ways. I'm sorry if that disappoints you.

This is a post about how disappointed I am in Christians on social media.


"Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - of whom I am the worst." 1 Timothy 1:15

Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst; me, Rachel Claire Cockrell. I am the worst sinner. I am worse than all of you. I know I don't act like it. I try so hard to portray myself as a good person and a good Christian, but I am not. I am selfish and stubborn. I am never able to admit when I'm wrong and it is so hard for me to apologize. I have a bad temper and I treat my husband, and other people I love, incredibly poorly when I am angry, or upset, or uncomfortable. I have always been self righteous; quick to point fingers at others and ignore the issues in myself. I am working on this, though, and I hope those who know me closely would say I am getting a little better. I am a gossip and I am cynical. I can find the negatives in any person or situation faster than my dog, Walter, can find your mouth to lick it when you yawn (for those of you who don't know, that's really fast). 

I struggle with sin every. single. day. And I am so, so tired of seeing tweets, re-tweets, Facebook rants, and blog posts about how this person and that person and those people should be ashamed of themselves and how they are going straight to hell. I'm tired of seeing tweets, re-tweets, Facebook rants, and blog posts about how I am a bigot who is trampling on the  rights of others, simply because I identify myself as a Christian who believes the bible. We cannot pretend to understand what it is like to be someone else. We cannot pretend that we have the right to condemn and judge when we are the worst sinners in the world

I need Christ in my life more than anyone else. There is not a single homosexual, alcoholic, adulterer, cheater, swindler, liar, bigot, racist, thief, or prostitute who is worse than I am. I can do nothing but embrace my weakness because my weaknesses only magnify Christ's power and grace. 

My pastor said something this past Sunday morning that struck a chord with me. He said "I am just one beggar trying to tell another beggar where to find bread." How much more impact would Christians have for the Kingdom of God if we all took this to heart? And not just about homosexuality, but about everything under the sun. I am a beggar. I am no better than anyone else. The only significant difference in me is that I have found the Savior. I am washed by the blood and covered in his grace. I am clean; not because of anything I have ever done, but because I have accepted the sacrifice that Jesus made on my behalf. My only goal should be sharing that knowledge with other beggars.

When we stop comparing ourselves to everyone else in an attempt to make us feel like we are a better person than Skanky Sally or Cheatin' Charlie then think about what we, as Christians, could do for Christ! Think about how many more people would feel the love of Christ. We forget that this is what he was known for. He wasn't known for his condemnation. He was known for love.




Loving others is how the world will identify us as Christ followers. I have seen almost no love portrayed by Christians in the last few days. We have to stop assuming that we know what God is thinking. We have to stop assuming that we are here to tell everyone what they are doing wrong. I have to stop assuming that I am a better Christian or a better person than anyone else. 

To the LGBT community, I apologize on behalf of all self-proclaimed Christians for the way we have treated you. Please do not assume that we follow a God who condemns the way that we have. God is love. Period. Jesus loves you for who you are right now. We would have you believe that he doesn't. We would have you believe that Jesus only loves you when you've changed your sexual orientation. This is a lie. Jesus loves you exactly as you are right at this moment. I am sorry at how often we forget that. We assume that we have to tell you all about how the bible says homosexuality is a sin, but the truth is we should be loving you and showing you how much Jesus loves you. 

I have no right to tell anyone else how to live their lives. All I can do is tell you what a difference Jesus has made in my life. All I can tell you is how much more fulfilling it is to worship and follow a Savior who sacrificed his life for me, because He desired a relationship with me that much. 

Love won. But love won much further back than Friday morning. Love won over 2000 years ago on a cross when a man who was far from ordinary because he was fully God and fully man decided he loved me enough to die so that I could have a relationship with him. Love won when he chose to take me as I am. Love won when he decided that I was worth his sacrifice, even though I am the worst of all sinners. 


Just Another Beggar


There has been a lot of unrest in the last few days due to the SCOTUS ruling on same sex marriage. I don't want to get into an argument over whether or not it was the right decision. I don't want to go on a rant about how Christians are bigots or how homosexuals are dirty sinners. That is not what this is about. 

This is not another post defending or complaining about the Supreme Court ruling. We've had enough of that both ways. I'm sorry if that disappoints you.

This is a post about how disappointed I am in Christians on social media.


"Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - of whom I am the worst." 1 Timothy 1:15

Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst; me, Rachel Claire Cockrell. I am the worst sinner. I am worse than all of you. I know I don't act like it. I try so hard to portray myself as a good person and a good Christian, but I am not. I am selfish and stubborn. I am never able to admit when I'm wrong and it is so hard for me to apologize. I have a bad temper and I treat my husband, and other people I love, incredibly poorly when I am angry, or upset, or uncomfortable. I have always been self righteous; quick to point fingers at others and ignore the issues in myself. I am working on this, though, and I hope those who know me closely would say I am getting a little better. I am a gossip and I am cynical. I can find the negatives in any person or situation faster than my dog, Walter, can find your mouth to lick it when you yawn (for those of you who don't know, that's really fast). 

I struggle with sin every. single. day. And I am so, so tired of seeing tweets, re-tweets, Facebook rants, and blog posts about how this person and that person and those people should be ashamed of themselves and how they are going straight to hell. I'm tired of seeing tweets, re-tweets, Facebook rants, and blog posts about how I am a bigot who is trampling on the  rights of others, simply because I identify myself as a Christian who believes the bible. We cannot pretend to understand what it is like to be someone else. We cannot pretend that we have the right to condemn and judge when we are the worst sinners in the world

I need Christ in my life more than anyone else. There is not a single homosexual, alcoholic, adulterer, cheater, swindler, liar, bigot, racist, thief, or prostitute who is worse than I am. I can do nothing but embrace my weakness because my weaknesses only magnify Christ's power and grace. 

My pastor said something this past Sunday morning that struck a chord with me. He said "I am just one beggar trying to tell another beggar where to find bread." How much more impact would Christians have for the Kingdom of God if we all took this to heart? And not just about homosexuality, but about everything under the sun. I am a beggar. I am no better than anyone else. The only significant difference in me is that I have found the Savior. I am washed by the blood and covered in his grace. I am clean; not because of anything I have ever done, but because I have accepted the sacrifice that Jesus made on my behalf. My only goal should be sharing that knowledge with other beggars.

When we stop comparing ourselves to everyone else in an attempt to make us feel like we are a better person than Skanky Sally or Cheatin' Charlie then think about what we, as Christians, could do for Christ! Think about how many more people would feel the love of Christ. We forget that this is what he was known for. He wasn't known for his condemnation. He was known for love.




Loving others is how the world will identify us as Christ followers. I have seen almost no love portrayed by Christians in the last few days. We have to stop assuming that we know what God is thinking. We have to stop assuming that we are here to tell everyone what they are doing wrong. I have to stop assuming that I am a better Christian or a better person than anyone else. 

To the LGBT community, I apologize on behalf of all self-proclaimed Christians for the way we have treated you. Please do not assume that we follow a God who condemns the way that we have. God is love. Period. Jesus loves you for who you are right now. We would have you believe that he doesn't. We would have you believe that Jesus only loves you when you've changed your sexual orientation. This is a lie. Jesus loves you exactly as you are right at this moment. I am sorry at how often we forget that. We assume that we have to tell you all about how the bible says homosexuality is a sin, but the truth is we should be loving you and showing you how much Jesus loves you. 

I have no right to tell anyone else how to live their lives. All I can do is tell you what a difference Jesus has made in my life. All I can tell you is how much more fulfilling it is to worship and follow a Savior who sacrificed his life for me, because He desired a relationship with me that much. 

Love won. But love won much further back than Friday morning. Love won over 2000 years ago on a cross when a man who was far from ordinary because he was fully God and fully man decided he loved me enough to die so that I could have a relationship with him. Love won when he chose to take me as I am. Love won when he decided that I was worth his sacrifice, even though I am the worst of all sinners. 


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter: Reflection and Review



My English teacher friends and I decided to read Carson McCullers' The Heart is a Lonely Hunter for a summer book club. I will be totally honest and tell you that this was not my favorite book; however, there was a lot of truth in it. 

The novel centers around a deaf mute named John Singer. The setting is a Southern mill town in between World Wars I and II. The characters in the novel are all attached to Singer in some way; all for different reasons. Singer is the perfect listener (mainly because he cannot talk), and each individual has something they want people to listen to. Each character turns Singer into exactly what they want him to be. People are searching for something and someone to believe in, and the characters in the novel believe they have found this in John Singer. 

McCullers does a wonderful job highlighting the longing that humanity has to be something more than what we are. Everyone is searching for something. Everyone wants someone else to truly understand them. The novel highlights how some search to fill the void with knowledge, some with music, some with purpose, and some simply don't know what it is they are searching for. In the novel, Singer is the personification of everything people use to find a greater purpose for themselves. The catch is that he is not any of the things that the other characters make him to be. He is just a man who is kind enough to allow people to talk and vent while he smiles and nods. He doesn't even understand everything they are telling him. Honestly, the first lesson I learned from the book is the less you talk the more people are drawn to you. 

The novel's conclusion leaves a lot to be desired, in my opinion. But that is mostly because I like closure; however, life doesn't always give us closure. This aspect makes the novel more real. 

It isn't an easy read. I had to struggle through it, but it sparks a lot of discussion.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:
  • Next to music, beer was best.
  • Maybe when people longed for a thing that bad the longing made them trust in anything that might give it to them.
  • How can the dead be truly dead when they live in the souls of those they left behind?
  • It was funny, too, how lonesome a person could be in a crowded house.
  • The most fatal thing a man can do is try to stand alone. 
  • I want - I want - I want - was all she could think about - but what this real want was she didn't know.
  • All we can do is go around telling the truth.
  • But look what the church has done to Jesus during the last 2000 years. What they have made of him. How they have turned every word he spoke for their own vile ends.
  • The whole world was a symphony, and there was not enough of her to listen.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter: Reflection and Review



My English teacher friends and I decided to read Carson McCullers' The Heart is a Lonely Hunter for a summer book club. I will be totally honest and tell you that this was not my favorite book; however, there was a lot of truth in it. 

The novel centers around a deaf mute named John Singer. The setting is a Southern mill town in between World Wars I and II. The characters in the novel are all attached to Singer in some way; all for different reasons. Singer is the perfect listener (mainly because he cannot talk), and each individual has something they want people to listen to. Each character turns Singer into exactly what they want him to be. People are searching for something and someone to believe in, and the characters in the novel believe they have found this in John Singer. 

McCullers does a wonderful job highlighting the longing that humanity has to be something more than what we are. Everyone is searching for something. Everyone wants someone else to truly understand them. The novel highlights how some search to fill the void with knowledge, some with music, some with purpose, and some simply don't know what it is they are searching for. In the novel, Singer is the personification of everything people use to find a greater purpose for themselves. The catch is that he is not any of the things that the other characters make him to be. He is just a man who is kind enough to allow people to talk and vent while he smiles and nods. He doesn't even understand everything they are telling him. Honestly, the first lesson I learned from the book is the less you talk the more people are drawn to you. 

The novel's conclusion leaves a lot to be desired, in my opinion. But that is mostly because I like closure; however, life doesn't always give us closure. This aspect makes the novel more real. 

It isn't an easy read. I had to struggle through it, but it sparks a lot of discussion.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:
  • Next to music, beer was best.
  • Maybe when people longed for a thing that bad the longing made them trust in anything that might give it to them.
  • How can the dead be truly dead when they live in the souls of those they left behind?
  • It was funny, too, how lonesome a person could be in a crowded house.
  • The most fatal thing a man can do is try to stand alone. 
  • I want - I want - I want - was all she could think about - but what this real want was she didn't know.
  • All we can do is go around telling the truth.
  • But look what the church has done to Jesus during the last 2000 years. What they have made of him. How they have turned every word he spoke for their own vile ends.
  • The whole world was a symphony, and there was not enough of her to listen.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

My Dad: The Leader and The Anchor



Since Mom got a Mother's Day post I can't leave Dad out. I was pretty blessed growing up. I didn't realize for the longest time how blessed I actually was. In our world today there is a shortage of real fathers. The absentee father is an aspect of life that is all too well known to most people. I am blessed because this is something that I've never had any first-hand experience with.

My dad has always been there. I literally cannot think back on one time in my life when I wanted my dad and he wasn't there. He never missed any recitals, plays, or concerts. He was at every vacation and sports event (even though I spent most of those on the bench). He has always been a hard worker and has been an incredible provider for our family, especially since my mom made the difficult decision to be a stay at home mom around the time my brother was born. He has always worked hard, and his job has always involved travel, but he always balanced his work and home life so well that his job never caused him to be absent. A lot of men believe that you can't go far in your job AND be everything you need to be at home. My dad proves that you can.



In recent years, certain experiences have opened my eyes to how rare of a father mine is. I can think back to the day and the moment I realized what an incredible father I had. The details of that day aren't necessary to share, but I remember calling him crying just to thank him for being the best daddy a girl could ask for. I'm pretty sure I surprised him because displays of emotion are not my strong suit.

I wouldn't be who I am with out Eddie Chancellor. We are just alike. I think of all 4 of his kids, I am the one most like him. We think alike, we look alike, and we act alike. Because of this, I think my dad and I understand each other better than most father-daughter pairs. Neither of us are good with emotional displays (although he is getting softer in his later years). We both get dumber as we get angrier, which tends to make us angrier, which tends to make us dumber. . . it's a vicious cycle. Mom and Jake and the ones who usually benefit from that annoying trait. We both have a tendency to get very passionate about certain things. We are both stubborn. We both tend to have selective hearing. And we both love with everything we have. We are fiercely loyal. We don't quit. Neither of us knows anything about tact and we say what we feel regardless of how it sounds. We don't hide who we are. 



Daddy's are always special to their baby girls. I'm blessed to have grown up with a father who knew that my siblings and I were watching his every move. He knew that we were paying attention to how he treated my mom. He used to take me on dates when I was a little girl. He would do things like open the door, pull out my chair, pay for everything and he would tell me with each thing he did, "Now if you ever go on a date with a boy who doesn't do this for you, don't let him take you out again." He knew that he wasn't just setting an example for me to follow as I grew up, he was showing me how I deserved to be treated by my husband one day. 


My dad has a temper, like I do, but he never let it get the best of him. Like I said, he knew we were watching. I saw my parents argue growing up, but they never blew up. Dad always kept his cool with mom. He never called her any derogatory names, he never threatened her, and they always always always made sure to let us see them make up. He loved her and he loves her still. They made sure that I grew up knowing that marriage isn't a fairy tale everyday, that you have to work at it, but that isn't an excuse to lose it on your spouse. 

Mom and Dad were always on the same page. I knew better than to ask one not to tell something to the other. They both always told me that they never keep secrets, and they never have. They still don't. My dad showed me what a husband should be as much as he showed me what a father should be. 

I am my father's daughter and I'm proud of it. There is no other daddy in the world as amazing as my daddy. 

I always feel a little guilty talking about how wonderful my dad is. He is a leader, he is strong, he has more integrity in his little finger than most men do in their entire bodies. He has a faith that cannot be shaken. I can't say it enough, I am blessed. 



But I know that everyone isn't as blessed as I am. I know that not every father is like mine. I know that some people only see their dads once a year if they're lucky. I know that some have never met their fathers or don't even know who they are. Some fathers are around occasionally, but not often. Some set terrible examples for their children that involve cheating, lies, and disappointment over and over again. Some dear friends of mine have lost their fathers far too soon and have to spend Father's Day remembering instead of celebrating. My heart goes out to all of these children, each fatherless in their own way. For some of you, Father's Day is not a day to be thankful for all your father has done for you. For some, Father's Day is just another day and for others it is a day full of sadness and disappointment. 

Here is something else my father taught me, and it might be the most important thing I could have learned from him. I know you've probably heard it before, but we all have a Heavenly Father who loves us more than our earthly fathers ever can. And I know that this hardly seems like much of a consolation at first. It's hard to substitute a concrete, flesh and blood father with one who seems so hard to reach. But he isn't hard to reach. He knows you intimately and he genuinely cares about you. I'm sorry for the cheese, I just can't write a post discussing my incredible father without my heart going out to those who have less than stellar fathers. God the Father is the only one who can soothe the pain of a fatherless child. 

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called Children of God. And that is what we are!" 1 John 3:1

"Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?" Malachi 2:10

"But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless." Psalm 10:14

"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling." Psalm 68:5

My Dad: The Leader and The Anchor



Since Mom got a Mother's Day post I can't leave Dad out. I was pretty blessed growing up. I didn't realize for the longest time how blessed I actually was. In our world today there is a shortage of real fathers. The absentee father is an aspect of life that is all too well known to most people. I am blessed because this is something that I've never had any first-hand experience with.

My dad has always been there. I literally cannot think back on one time in my life when I wanted my dad and he wasn't there. He never missed any recitals, plays, or concerts. He was at every vacation and sports event (even though I spent most of those on the bench). He has always been a hard worker and has been an incredible provider for our family, especially since my mom made the difficult decision to be a stay at home mom around the time my brother was born. He has always worked hard, and his job has always involved travel, but he always balanced his work and home life so well that his job never caused him to be absent. A lot of men believe that you can't go far in your job AND be everything you need to be at home. My dad proves that you can.



In recent years, certain experiences have opened my eyes to how rare of a father mine is. I can think back to the day and the moment I realized what an incredible father I had. The details of that day aren't necessary to share, but I remember calling him crying just to thank him for being the best daddy a girl could ask for. I'm pretty sure I surprised him because displays of emotion are not my strong suit.

I wouldn't be who I am with out Eddie Chancellor. We are just alike. I think of all 4 of his kids, I am the one most like him. We think alike, we look alike, and we act alike. Because of this, I think my dad and I understand each other better than most father-daughter pairs. Neither of us are good with emotional displays (although he is getting softer in his later years). We both get dumber as we get angrier, which tends to make us angrier, which tends to make us dumber. . . it's a vicious cycle. Mom and Jake and the ones who usually benefit from that annoying trait. We both have a tendency to get very passionate about certain things. We are both stubborn. We both tend to have selective hearing. And we both love with everything we have. We are fiercely loyal. We don't quit. Neither of us knows anything about tact and we say what we feel regardless of how it sounds. We don't hide who we are. 



Daddy's are always special to their baby girls. I'm blessed to have grown up with a father who knew that my siblings and I were watching his every move. He knew that we were paying attention to how he treated my mom. He used to take me on dates when I was a little girl. He would do things like open the door, pull out my chair, pay for everything and he would tell me with each thing he did, "Now if you ever go on a date with a boy who doesn't do this for you, don't let him take you out again." He knew that he wasn't just setting an example for me to follow as I grew up, he was showing me how I deserved to be treated by my husband one day. 


My dad has a temper, like I do, but he never let it get the best of him. Like I said, he knew we were watching. I saw my parents argue growing up, but they never blew up. Dad always kept his cool with mom. He never called her any derogatory names, he never threatened her, and they always always always made sure to let us see them make up. He loved her and he loves her still. They made sure that I grew up knowing that marriage isn't a fairy tale everyday, that you have to work at it, but that isn't an excuse to lose it on your spouse. 

Mom and Dad were always on the same page. I knew better than to ask one not to tell something to the other. They both always told me that they never keep secrets, and they never have. They still don't. My dad showed me what a husband should be as much as he showed me what a father should be. 

I am my father's daughter and I'm proud of it. There is no other daddy in the world as amazing as my daddy. 

I always feel a little guilty talking about how wonderful my dad is. He is a leader, he is strong, he has more integrity in his little finger than most men do in their entire bodies. He has a faith that cannot be shaken. I can't say it enough, I am blessed. 



But I know that everyone isn't as blessed as I am. I know that not every father is like mine. I know that some people only see their dads once a year if they're lucky. I know that some have never met their fathers or don't even know who they are. Some fathers are around occasionally, but not often. Some set terrible examples for their children that involve cheating, lies, and disappointment over and over again. Some dear friends of mine have lost their fathers far too soon and have to spend Father's Day remembering instead of celebrating. My heart goes out to all of these children, each fatherless in their own way. For some of you, Father's Day is not a day to be thankful for all your father has done for you. For some, Father's Day is just another day and for others it is a day full of sadness and disappointment. 

Here is something else my father taught me, and it might be the most important thing I could have learned from him. I know you've probably heard it before, but we all have a Heavenly Father who loves us more than our earthly fathers ever can. And I know that this hardly seems like much of a consolation at first. It's hard to substitute a concrete, flesh and blood father with one who seems so hard to reach. But he isn't hard to reach. He knows you intimately and he genuinely cares about you. I'm sorry for the cheese, I just can't write a post discussing my incredible father without my heart going out to those who have less than stellar fathers. God the Father is the only one who can soothe the pain of a fatherless child. 

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called Children of God. And that is what we are!" 1 John 3:1

"Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?" Malachi 2:10

"But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless." Psalm 10:14

"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling." Psalm 68:5

Monday, June 15, 2015

Summer: A Week in the Life



One perk of being a teacher is summer. We don't get 3 months off like a lot of people believe, but we do get some time to relax and unwind after the stress of AP, PARCC, EOC, ELDA, and every other standardized test we are tortured with by the end of the school year. Here's how the first week of my summer looked:


Day 1 

Woo Hoo! School is out! No more faculty meetings, no more grade deadlines, no more "wait, we have a test today Mrs. Cockrell?!" I can't wait to just relax for a while. I'm not going to do anything productive this week. I deserve a break. It's a beautiful day outside today. I need a tan. I'll go lay by the pool. The UV index is only at a 3? Well that's a bummer, but I guess that means I won't need sunscreen.

I was wrong. I definitely needed sunscreen.

Free tickets to the Third Eye Blind concert tonight? Sweet! Thanks Jess! This will be fun. I'm sure my sunburn won't bother me.
Are you guys cold? Because I'm radiating heat like the sun over here. There is no comfortable way to sit on the grass with this sunburn covering my entire body. Ridiculous.
Didn't Third Eye Blind used to be good? Oh well, at least my friends are fun.





Day 2 

Welp, so much for not needing sunscreen. My skin is on FIRE! Way to go, RC. That was not your proudest moment. Now let's try to get dressed without passing out from the pain. A shower? Yeah, that's not going to happen. Those falling droplets of fire on my skin can kiss it. Besides, I'm just relaxing today, so who needs a shower? I can curl up on the couch with a cup of coffee and finally read something for my own pleasure instead of for professional development purposes. 

Jake: You know, my buddy at work's wife is a teacher and she wakes up with him every morning in the summer and makes him a breakfast smoothie before he goes to work.
Me: Oh how wonderful for her. I'll call Mrs. Cleaver and let her know she's been one-upped. Now, go to work so I can go back to sleep. I deserve this.


Day 3 

Ok, I might be able to take a shower today without crying out in agony.
Nope. Nevermind. This hurts like hell. But I didn't shower yesterday so I can't skip again. I'm bored. Already? That's not a good sign. I wonder what my family is doing today? My aunt, my cousin, and her kids are still in town from my brother's wedding last weekend. Maybe we can do something. Oh, they want to go to High Rise? That sounds fun. I haven't been there yet. A giant warehouse full of trampolines? Yes, please. 

You know, I really didn't think this through. Yes, it's fun to jump into a giant pit of foam blocks but those foam blocks are way more abrasive than they look and my sun-burnt legs are not happy with me right now. I'll stick to the trampolines. I used to be able to do some pretty sweet flips.
Yep. Still got it.

Jake needs me to grab some tennis shoes for him and bring them to the office so he can go play tennis after work with a buddy of his. I'll be a super awesome wife and do that on the way home from High Rise. He'll meet me outside so I don't have to come in with my no-makeup, sweaty self (hey, trampoline jumping is a workout. . .). Oh look he's just getting back from lunch. Who's in the car with him? He must've had lunch with some co-workers. . .who are now going to see my sun-burnt, no-makeup, sweaty grossness. Fabulous. 


Day 4 

How has my sunburn lasted this long? I never have sunburns that last this long. I'll brave the shower again but this is going to be a quick in-and-out job. Why am I sore, like, everywhere? Apparently I don't still have it. Seriously, I can barely move my arms. . . or my legs. . . or my neck. Too many back-handsprings and flips yesterday at the trampoline park. 

Hmm...what do I want to do today? I can read some more of my book. OK, already tired of that. It's a beautiful day but I'm still too burnt to go hang out by the pool. Netflix marathon? You know, it's been awhile since I've watched Gilmore Girls.


Day 5 

This sunburn is FINALLY gone. I've gotta make sure Jake and I are all packed and ready to go to Oklahoma City today for a friend's wedding. This will be so much fun! My throat hurts a little. Weird. Ibuprofen will take care of that. PARTY IN OKC!! Woohoo! Let's go!

Sheesh, I have missed my friends. Sangria with lunch? Yes, please. Although, I am starting to feel a bit woozy. And my throat hurts again. I'll just go back to the hotel and take a nap before the wedding. Then I'll be ready to go.

OK nap's over and I feel worse. I think I have a fever. Maybe strep throat? I feel like death warmed over. Stupid kids with their snotty noses in a trampoline warehouse. I'm sure I picked up a bug there. I can't go to the wedding with a fever. Have fun without me, Jake. I'll watch HBO in the hotel room. 


Day 6 

Doctor says it's a bacterial infection. Fabulous. This would happen to kick off my summer. Give me that Z-Pack and let's nip this thing in the bud. I've got things to do. 


Day 7 
Jake is out of town for work. I'm home sick, alone, and the pus pockets on my throat are the size of quarters. Great start to the summer. At least being sick with a sore throat means an excuse to eat lots of ice cream. And not get out of my pajamas all day. 




So, my first week got off to a less than stellar start, BUT the infection is gone. Jake and I just had a wonderful weekend in Phoenix, I'm starting a book club today with some pretty awesome co-workers and friends, and there is plenty more to come. Summer is just getting started. 



Summer: A Week in the Life



One perk of being a teacher is summer. We don't get 3 months off like a lot of people believe, but we do get some time to relax and unwind after the stress of AP, PARCC, EOC, ELDA, and every other standardized test we are tortured with by the end of the school year. Here's how the first week of my summer looked:


Day 1 

Woo Hoo! School is out! No more faculty meetings, no more grade deadlines, no more "wait, we have a test today Mrs. Cockrell?!" I can't wait to just relax for a while. I'm not going to do anything productive this week. I deserve a break. It's a beautiful day outside today. I need a tan. I'll go lay by the pool. The UV index is only at a 3? Well that's a bummer, but I guess that means I won't need sunscreen.

I was wrong. I definitely needed sunscreen.

Free tickets to the Third Eye Blind concert tonight? Sweet! Thanks Jess! This will be fun. I'm sure my sunburn won't bother me.
Are you guys cold? Because I'm radiating heat like the sun over here. There is no comfortable way to sit on the grass with this sunburn covering my entire body. Ridiculous.
Didn't Third Eye Blind used to be good? Oh well, at least my friends are fun.





Day 2 

Welp, so much for not needing sunscreen. My skin is on FIRE! Way to go, RC. That was not your proudest moment. Now let's try to get dressed without passing out from the pain. A shower? Yeah, that's not going to happen. Those falling droplets of fire on my skin can kiss it. Besides, I'm just relaxing today, so who needs a shower? I can curl up on the couch with a cup of coffee and finally read something for my own pleasure instead of for professional development purposes. 

Jake: You know, my buddy at work's wife is a teacher and she wakes up with him every morning in the summer and makes him a breakfast smoothie before he goes to work.
Me: Oh how wonderful for her. I'll call Mrs. Cleaver and let her know she's been one-upped. Now, go to work so I can go back to sleep. I deserve this.


Day 3 

Ok, I might be able to take a shower today without crying out in agony.
Nope. Nevermind. This hurts like hell. But I didn't shower yesterday so I can't skip again. I'm bored. Already? That's not a good sign. I wonder what my family is doing today? My aunt, my cousin, and her kids are still in town from my brother's wedding last weekend. Maybe we can do something. Oh, they want to go to High Rise? That sounds fun. I haven't been there yet. A giant warehouse full of trampolines? Yes, please. 

You know, I really didn't think this through. Yes, it's fun to jump into a giant pit of foam blocks but those foam blocks are way more abrasive than they look and my sun-burnt legs are not happy with me right now. I'll stick to the trampolines. I used to be able to do some pretty sweet flips.
Yep. Still got it.

Jake needs me to grab some tennis shoes for him and bring them to the office so he can go play tennis after work with a buddy of his. I'll be a super awesome wife and do that on the way home from High Rise. He'll meet me outside so I don't have to come in with my no-makeup, sweaty self (hey, trampoline jumping is a workout. . .). Oh look he's just getting back from lunch. Who's in the car with him? He must've had lunch with some co-workers. . .who are now going to see my sun-burnt, no-makeup, sweaty grossness. Fabulous. 


Day 4 

How has my sunburn lasted this long? I never have sunburns that last this long. I'll brave the shower again but this is going to be a quick in-and-out job. Why am I sore, like, everywhere? Apparently I don't still have it. Seriously, I can barely move my arms. . . or my legs. . . or my neck. Too many back-handsprings and flips yesterday at the trampoline park. 

Hmm...what do I want to do today? I can read some more of my book. OK, already tired of that. It's a beautiful day but I'm still too burnt to go hang out by the pool. Netflix marathon? You know, it's been awhile since I've watched Gilmore Girls.


Day 5 

This sunburn is FINALLY gone. I've gotta make sure Jake and I are all packed and ready to go to Oklahoma City today for a friend's wedding. This will be so much fun! My throat hurts a little. Weird. Ibuprofen will take care of that. PARTY IN OKC!! Woohoo! Let's go!

Sheesh, I have missed my friends. Sangria with lunch? Yes, please. Although, I am starting to feel a bit woozy. And my throat hurts again. I'll just go back to the hotel and take a nap before the wedding. Then I'll be ready to go.

OK nap's over and I feel worse. I think I have a fever. Maybe strep throat? I feel like death warmed over. Stupid kids with their snotty noses in a trampoline warehouse. I'm sure I picked up a bug there. I can't go to the wedding with a fever. Have fun without me, Jake. I'll watch HBO in the hotel room. 


Day 6 

Doctor says it's a bacterial infection. Fabulous. This would happen to kick off my summer. Give me that Z-Pack and let's nip this thing in the bud. I've got things to do. 


Day 7 
Jake is out of town for work. I'm home sick, alone, and the pus pockets on my throat are the size of quarters. Great start to the summer. At least being sick with a sore throat means an excuse to eat lots of ice cream. And not get out of my pajamas all day. 




So, my first week got off to a less than stellar start, BUT the infection is gone. Jake and I just had a wonderful weekend in Phoenix, I'm starting a book club today with some pretty awesome co-workers and friends, and there is plenty more to come. Summer is just getting started. 



Monday, June 8, 2015

Pro-Choice: Whose Choice?

I want to apologize in advance for this post. I usually try to express my opinion in a way that is not judgmental. I try to explain my beliefs in a way that will get my point across and offend as few people as possible. I want to apologize because this subject is something I don't think I can take lightly. The truth is, I'm angry. 

Before we get into this I will go ahead and let you all know


I AM PRO-LIFE




I think it's only fair to give you that piece of information up-front, so you can judge if what I have to say will anger you and determine whether or not to keep reading. If you are pro-choice and choose to continue to read this, I hope you will understand my heart and where I am coming from. I hope you see that my views come from a place of love and the belief in the sanctity of life. They do not come from feelings of condemnation or judgement. Please understand that it is not my purpose to offend or upset. My purpose is to speak the truth, because sometimes truth is black and white. Sometimes what is true and what is right do not depend on who you are or what you believe in. Some things are absolute. 

I've never really understood why the belief that women have a right to dispose of the life growing inside of them is called pro-choice. What is the choice? Pro-choicers would say that the choice is the woman's choice as to whether or not she wants to have a child. I would argue that this decision was made well before she found out she was pregnant. 

Accidents happen. I get it. But whose fault is that? Is it the baby's fault?  It's not an unwanted side effect. It's a CHILD.





According to the CDC, half of the pregnancies in the US are unwanted. And of that half, 4 in 10 babies are aborted. There are roughly 1.21 million abortions each year in the US and by age 45, one third of American women will have had at least one abortion. 

One in three. That's crazy.

I do believe that women, or anyone for that matter, have the right to determine what happens to their body. But what about the baby's body? Where is that child's choice? We are taking away a human being's choice when we decide to take away his or her life. Why isn't an unborn child given a voice? Why do we assume that we can take the life of something just because we can't see it and we know that one day it may inconvenience us?

I guess the real question comes down to what you view as "life." Those in favor of the pro-choice debate will argue that a fetus is not the same thing as a baby. A fetus does not have the right to life because it is not yet alive. But what makes a person alive?

Google defines life as "the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death." From the moment of conception a fetus is growing. If that truly is what makes us alive, then life begins at conception. 

At conception the sperm fertilizes the egg. The cells immediately begin dividing and multiplying. Growth. It's what sets us apart from inorganic (nonliving) matter.

Conception = Life. Period. That isn't an opinion, it is a fact. If it wasn't a fact, then abortion wouldn't be one of the most heavily debated topics in the world today.

Most states have abortion restrictions. Over half prohibit abortions on babies who could technically survive outside of the womb (around 24 to 26 weeks). However, there are some states that have no restrictions on abortions, and a woman can get an abortion as late as days before she would naturally go into labor. 

I've heard several arguments in favor of abortion. Most of them are "what if" scenarios such as, "What if the mother was raped?" and "What if the baby or the mother are at a serious health risk?" So, I decided to look into it. According to the CDC here are the top 3 reasons why women decide to have an abortion.
  1. About 75% of women who have an abortion say the baby would interfere with work, school, or other responsibilities. 
  2. Another 75% of women say that they can't afford a baby.
  3. 50% of women say that they don't want to be a single parent or they are having issues with their spouse/partner.
What's worse . . . only 1% of women who have an abortion say that rape is the reason. Even if you take into account the fact that many women don't feel comfortable stating that reason, that number is extremely low. Only 10% say that a health issue is the reason for their abortion, and that statistic includes drug addiction in the mother as a health issue. 

When did we become so heartless as a society that we decided that you only have a right to your own body if you are a certain age? Babies don't count. They don't get to determine whether or not they live or die. What gives us the right to decide that someone else's life isn't worth saving because it would interfere with our lives to give a shit? 75% is a huge percentage of women who claim that they just can't be bothered with a baby. How dare that child grow inside them? How dare that child "interfere" with their lives? What an inconvenience! The blame is always placed on the innocent life growing inside instead of where it belongs. I know it sucks that something as small as forgetting to take a pill or a broken condom should have such huge and lasting effects, but that's life. 

We have become so calloused as a nation. Nothing affects us the way it used to. Sometimes that is a good thing, but in this case it is deplorable. Calling an unborn baby a fetus so that you don't have to feel guilty about what abortion really is doesn't change the fact that abortion is killing someone. Killing a human being while it is still inside the womb doesn't make it acceptable all of the sudden to take someone else's life. Life is life. Period. No matter whether that life is 65 years old, 65 days old, or just a 6 day old zygote that is growing into a child who will grow into an adult. There are too many viable alternatives to abortion to allow this to happen.

Psalm 139:13-16 says "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was made in that secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." God has a hand in every child from the moment he or she is conceived. "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart." (Jeremiah 1:5).
He has a plan and a purpose for everyone (Jeremiah 29:11). 

Christians, I am calling you out. If you believe in what the bible says and if you claim that Christ is the authority in your life then you have to be outraged at this. The bible makes it very clear that ALL life is sacred. Galatians 1:15 says "Even before I was born, God had chosen me to be his." He knows us before we are born. He created us in the womb. We have no right to play God. We have no right to take the life of an innocent human being. Just because you can't see something doesn't mean it's not there. Just because someone tells you that a fetus isn't a baby doesn't mean that it's true. 


Some things are absolute.

Some things are just flat out wrong.

If you believe in a woman's right to determine what happens to her own body then I challenge you to consider the body of the man or woman that child could grow to be. Abortion takes away that person's choice. Every choice that person would ever grow up and make is taken away in an instant.

If you have had an abortion and I have offended you, I want to apologize. That was not my intention. I do not believe you are a malicious or evil person, I believe that you have been deceived. Satan has a way of making bad things sound good. He uses outlets that we trust to convince us that something is right when it isn't. He is the Father of Lies and an expert at tricking people into making the wrong decision. 
If you are one of the 75% who were convinced that having a baby would interfere with your life, then my heart breaks for you and for that child. I am so sorry that you felt there was no other option. I wish someone had been there to tell you the truth. 
If you are one of the 10% who had an abortion because something was fatally wrong with you or your baby, my heart breaks for you in a different way. You may have wanted your child. You may have named him or her and prepared a place in your home. You may have been devastated when you found out that something was wrong. I am sorry for your loss. I understand how hard your decision must have been and I can't imagine what you went through. I may not agree with the decision you made, but that doesn't mean I am condemning you and it doesn't mean I am unsympathetic. 
If you are one of the 1% who had an abortion because you were raped, my heart breaks for you. I wish I could give you a hug and cry with you. I can't imagine the shame and fear you must feel. I do not believe your child should have had to pay for the sins of his father, but once again that does not mean that I condemn you. It does not mean that I don't hurt for what you went through.

You are not alone, and you are not unloved. Our society has taught us to do what we want and what we believe is right for us and ignore the needs of everyone else. What a cruel and selfish world we have created. Don't fall for it. We are made to love and be loved by our Creator. We are made to love each other.

Pro-Choice: Whose Choice?

I want to apologize in advance for this post. I usually try to express my opinion in a way that is not judgmental. I try to explain my beliefs in a way that will get my point across and offend as few people as possible. I want to apologize because this subject is something I don't think I can take lightly. The truth is, I'm angry. 

Before we get into this I will go ahead and let you all know


I AM PRO-LIFE




I think it's only fair to give you that piece of information up-front, so you can judge if what I have to say will anger you and determine whether or not to keep reading. If you are pro-choice and choose to continue to read this, I hope you will understand my heart and where I am coming from. I hope you see that my views come from a place of love and the belief in the sanctity of life. They do not come from feelings of condemnation or judgement. Please understand that it is not my purpose to offend or upset. My purpose is to speak the truth, because sometimes truth is black and white. Sometimes what is true and what is right do not depend on who you are or what you believe in. Some things are absolute. 

I've never really understood why the belief that women have a right to dispose of the life growing inside of them is called pro-choice. What is the choice? Pro-choicers would say that the choice is the woman's choice as to whether or not she wants to have a child. I would argue that this decision was made well before she found out she was pregnant. 

Accidents happen. I get it. But whose fault is that? Is it the baby's fault?  It's not an unwanted side effect. It's a CHILD.





According to the CDC, half of the pregnancies in the US are unwanted. And of that half, 4 in 10 babies are aborted. There are roughly 1.21 million abortions each year in the US and by age 45, one third of American women will have had at least one abortion. 

One in three. That's crazy.

I do believe that women, or anyone for that matter, have the right to determine what happens to their body. But what about the baby's body? Where is that child's choice? We are taking away a human being's choice when we decide to take away his or her life. Why isn't an unborn child given a voice? Why do we assume that we can take the life of something just because we can't see it and we know that one day it may inconvenience us?

I guess the real question comes down to what you view as "life." Those in favor of the pro-choice debate will argue that a fetus is not the same thing as a baby. A fetus does not have the right to life because it is not yet alive. But what makes a person alive?

Google defines life as "the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death." From the moment of conception a fetus is growing. If that truly is what makes us alive, then life begins at conception. 

At conception the sperm fertilizes the egg. The cells immediately begin dividing and multiplying. Growth. It's what sets us apart from inorganic (nonliving) matter.

Conception = Life. Period. That isn't an opinion, it is a fact. If it wasn't a fact, then abortion wouldn't be one of the most heavily debated topics in the world today.

Most states have abortion restrictions. Over half prohibit abortions on babies who could technically survive outside of the womb (around 24 to 26 weeks). However, there are some states that have no restrictions on abortions, and a woman can get an abortion as late as days before she would naturally go into labor. 

I've heard several arguments in favor of abortion. Most of them are "what if" scenarios such as, "What if the mother was raped?" and "What if the baby or the mother are at a serious health risk?" So, I decided to look into it. According to the CDC here are the top 3 reasons why women decide to have an abortion.
  1. About 75% of women who have an abortion say the baby would interfere with work, school, or other responsibilities. 
  2. Another 75% of women say that they can't afford a baby.
  3. 50% of women say that they don't want to be a single parent or they are having issues with their spouse/partner.
What's worse . . . only 1% of women who have an abortion say that rape is the reason. Even if you take into account the fact that many women don't feel comfortable stating that reason, that number is extremely low. Only 10% say that a health issue is the reason for their abortion, and that statistic includes drug addiction in the mother as a health issue. 

When did we become so heartless as a society that we decided that you only have a right to your own body if you are a certain age? Babies don't count. They don't get to determine whether or not they live or die. What gives us the right to decide that someone else's life isn't worth saving because it would interfere with our lives to give a shit? 75% is a huge percentage of women who claim that they just can't be bothered with a baby. How dare that child grow inside them? How dare that child "interfere" with their lives? What an inconvenience! The blame is always placed on the innocent life growing inside instead of where it belongs. I know it sucks that something as small as forgetting to take a pill or a broken condom should have such huge and lasting effects, but that's life. 

We have become so calloused as a nation. Nothing affects us the way it used to. Sometimes that is a good thing, but in this case it is deplorable. Calling an unborn baby a fetus so that you don't have to feel guilty about what abortion really is doesn't change the fact that abortion is killing someone. Killing a human being while it is still inside the womb doesn't make it acceptable all of the sudden to take someone else's life. Life is life. Period. No matter whether that life is 65 years old, 65 days old, or just a 6 day old zygote that is growing into a child who will grow into an adult. There are too many viable alternatives to abortion to allow this to happen.

Psalm 139:13-16 says "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was made in that secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." God has a hand in every child from the moment he or she is conceived. "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart." (Jeremiah 1:5).
He has a plan and a purpose for everyone (Jeremiah 29:11). 

Christians, I am calling you out. If you believe in what the bible says and if you claim that Christ is the authority in your life then you have to be outraged at this. The bible makes it very clear that ALL life is sacred. Galatians 1:15 says "Even before I was born, God had chosen me to be his." He knows us before we are born. He created us in the womb. We have no right to play God. We have no right to take the life of an innocent human being. Just because you can't see something doesn't mean it's not there. Just because someone tells you that a fetus isn't a baby doesn't mean that it's true. 


Some things are absolute.

Some things are just flat out wrong.

If you believe in a woman's right to determine what happens to her own body then I challenge you to consider the body of the man or woman that child could grow to be. Abortion takes away that person's choice. Every choice that person would ever grow up and make is taken away in an instant.

If you have had an abortion and I have offended you, I want to apologize. That was not my intention. I do not believe you are a malicious or evil person, I believe that you have been deceived. Satan has a way of making bad things sound good. He uses outlets that we trust to convince us that something is right when it isn't. He is the Father of Lies and an expert at tricking people into making the wrong decision. 
If you are one of the 75% who were convinced that having a baby would interfere with your life, then my heart breaks for you and for that child. I am so sorry that you felt there was no other option. I wish someone had been there to tell you the truth. 
If you are one of the 10% who had an abortion because something was fatally wrong with you or your baby, my heart breaks for you in a different way. You may have wanted your child. You may have named him or her and prepared a place in your home. You may have been devastated when you found out that something was wrong. I am sorry for your loss. I understand how hard your decision must have been and I can't imagine what you went through. I may not agree with the decision you made, but that doesn't mean I am condemning you and it doesn't mean I am unsympathetic. 
If you are one of the 1% who had an abortion because you were raped, my heart breaks for you. I wish I could give you a hug and cry with you. I can't imagine the shame and fear you must feel. I do not believe your child should have had to pay for the sins of his father, but once again that does not mean that I condemn you. It does not mean that I don't hurt for what you went through.

You are not alone, and you are not unloved. Our society has taught us to do what we want and what we believe is right for us and ignore the needs of everyone else. What a cruel and selfish world we have created. Don't fall for it. We are made to love and be loved by our Creator. We are made to love each other.